Supreme Court Guidelines

Arrest of Judicial officers

Delhi Judicial Service Association, Tis Hazari Court, Delhi v. State of Gujarat, (1991) 4 SCC 406: AIR 1991 SC 2176

A Magistrate, Judge or any other Judicial Officer is liable to criminal prosecution for an offence like any other citizen but in view of the paramount necessity of preserving the independence of judiciary and at the same time ensuring that infractions of law are properly investigated, we think that the following guidelines should be followed:

(A) If a Judicial Officer is to be arrested for some offence, it should be done under intimation to the District Judge or the High Court as the case may be.

(B) If facts and circumstances necessitate the immediate arrest of a Judicial Officer of the subordinate judiciary, a technical or formal arrest may be effected.

(C) The fact of such arrest should be immediately communicated to the District and Sessions Judge of the concerned District and the Chief Justice of the High Court.

(D) The Judicial Officer so arrested shall not be taken to a police station, without the prior order or directions of the District and Sessions Judge of the concerned District, if available.

(E) Immediate facilities shall be provided to the Judicial Officer for communication with his family members, legal advisers and Judicial Officers, including the District and Sessions Judge.

(F) No statement of a Judicial Officer who is under arrest be recorded nor any panchnama be drawn up nor any medical tests be conducted except in the presence of the Legal Adviser of the Judicial Officer concerned or another Judicial Officer of equal or higher rank, if available.

(G) There should be no handcuffing of a Judicial Officer. If, however, violent resistance to arrest is offered or there is imminent need to effect physical arrest in order to avert danger to life and limb, the person resisting arrest may be overpowered and handcuffed. In such case, immediate report shall be made to the District and Sessions Judge concerned and also to the Chief Justice of the High Court. But the burden would be on the Police to establish the necessity for effecting physical arrest and handcuffing the Judicial Officer and if it be established that the physical arrest and handcuffing of the Judicial Officer was unjustified, the Police Officers causing or responsible for such arrest and handcuffing would be guilty of misconduct and would also be personally liable for compensation and/or damages as may be summarily determined by the High Court.

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M. A. Rashid

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